This morning I woke up to an empty house, the first day in almost six weeks of summer holidays without the children. This so rare and precious time has as usual appeared unplanned and at the last minute, so with little time to plan anything I decided to just be quiet, contemplative, calm and paint in my pyjamas!
I’ve been working on some paintings taken from childhood images found on my computer, they are me around the age of 12, this is quite a significant age, pre-teen, the end of childhood, I think I probably had a textbook idyllic childhood and the transition to teenager was uncomfortable, lonely and pretty miserable. My youngest daughter is now 12 and the other two kids are fully formed teenagers, I hope I am able to empathise with their situation at least some of the time and remember how crappy it can be.
So apart from looking at some memories and old images (remembering to not loose the plot with my teenage terrors) I’m also exploring different colour palettes seeing what develops. These paintings are all in gouache, I would like to work in oil next which I haven’t used for years as it can produce really rich colours and smells great. One thing this period of painting has reminded me of is to keep pushing myself, never give up, don’t settle or become creatively complacent. Have a great bank holiday.
It’s been a difficult summer with the shock of a family crisis. Compounded by endless gruelling job interviews, I am left emotionally, physically & financially exhausted.
I’ve been weaving in and out of family commitments this summer to find time to paint, I’m not sure exactly what it is I am hoping to achieve but it felt important to grapple back some sense of control. Having stopped all artistic pursuits last year to enrol on a teacher training course I felt, at the beginning of the school summer holidays, distanced from my creative self (there is little room for creativity in the classroom it seems) Having not yet secured a teaching job I am again faced with an uncertain future.
Painting is where I started (first real memories around age four) I trained for many years and have a first class degree from Glasgow school of art so it felt right in the midst of such turmoil and uncertainty to reach back to my core and start afresh from scratch. That probably sounds a bit silly but it has kept me focused and hopeful.
I have spent years agitating over work and ideas, gauging each design for commercial viability so it has been amazing to just paint anything I want in any way I want for a few weeks, this work comes out of sadness and adversity but is in itself full of happiness and hope.
Inspiration has come from close by, my children, my home, my parents home, plants, books, photographs, Bristol. My imagination is always pretty active but it has been nice to let it rest some days and just concentrate on colour, light and shapes. The summer holidays are nearly over, maybe I will find some way to continue painting, I hope so.
I have really enjoyed creating this group of paintings. I’m trying not to think too hard and allow my work to develop in a variety of directions, there is a loose theme that has emerged, women & girls, sisters & friends – at work, rest and play. I’m still working with gouache, these works are all A4.